Last night I experienced two culinary firsts. My First supper club dining experience and my first ever taste of Filipino food. 

Luto‘, simply meaning ‘to cook’ in the language of the Philippines, is the name of the monthly supper club I was fortunate enough to attend yesterday. After three weeks of ‘January’ deprivation and pure health I allowed myself to devour a five course feast without even a smidge of guilt. 
The evening was filled with an abundance of heavenly flavours, textures and five of the tastiest dishes I’ve had in a long, long time. January health kick or not. 

The beauty of a supper club is that essentially everyone’s enjoying the same incredible meal at the same time. Throw your fussiness out the window for one evening and allow yourself to go on a flavour adventure with no barriers stopping you from trying new things and experiencing flavours and textures you wouldn’t usually enjoy. There is of course a vegetarian option and you’re asked to state any dietary requirements at the start but I can guarantee that by dining this way you’ll fall in love (or at least happily tolerate) an ingredient you would otherwise avoid.

We were given snacks to nibble on whilst our first course was prepared. Crispy pig skin puffs for the meat eaters and fried kale for the veggies. This did a good job of tiding us over until the real food arrived…

Dish 1: Mussels “Bicol”

The meal begun with mussels – something I’ve ordered many times in the last year or two since deciding I like them. These were big juicy ones swimming in a hot, gingery, coconut broth with crunchy ribbons of veg and a generous topping of spring onions. Divine. Pretty much converted the mussel hating friend I was with too – result. 

Dish 2: Smoked Mackerel Arroz Caldo 

Up until yesterday I wouldn’t necessarily have referred to myself as a mackerel fan; this dish may have changed my mind though. Unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before, this was a culinary adventure to the unknown and I can safely say I’ve never eaten anything like it in my life before. What I can only describe as a savoury rice pudding was topped with a sprinkling of burnt crispy rice, smoked flaky fish, oozy gooey egg yolk, heaps of garlic, crispy onions and a whole load of other stuff that brought this dish together in holy matrimony and created a complete and utter taste sensation in my mouth. As well as being next level tasty, this dish did that thing with textures that reminds you you how well creamy and crispy and crunchy and oozy and gooey really do go together.  

Dish 3: Beef Short Rib, Aubergine, Peanut

Fall off the bone meat, soft and sweet aubergine, crunchy salty peanuts – this dish was the holy fucking grail. Without a doubt the best thing on the menu and absolutely ridiculously scrumptious. It was a beast of a main course, It’s what death row meals are made of and it made me want to cry with happiness after depriving myself of so many delicious things for so long. This dish will make you reconsider any dietary requirements you have and would make even a vegetarian jealous. (Which it literally did because there was one on our table, pretty certain he tasted it. Bad vegetarian.)

Something I almost forgot to mention (and mentally slapped myself on the wrist for doing so) was the charred cabbage side that accompanied the main. It was a complete and utter game changer. All cabbage needs to be charred, literally all of it. Why would you even consider having it any other way? 

Dish 4: Condensed Milk Tart & Kalamanasi

Dessert. Usually that part of the meal you regret and wish you’d never eaten when the little voice in your head starts whispering ‘did you really need that?’. 

For our fourth course we were served a crème brûlée style pie with a citrusy, zesty mousse like spoldge on the side to cut through the incredible, sweet, creaminess of the tart. So yes at a matter of fact, you really do need a dessert. In fact, you need two…

Dish 5: Coffee, Rum, Mango

The perfect way to end your meal. A second dessert. It’s your post meal Coffee, night cap & ice cream all rolled into one. It is just sensational. 

In the feedback form we filled in at the end of the night I scribbled FUCKING PHENOMENAL across the 4 lines requesting my opinion, likes and dislikes about the meal. That is all they really needed to know. 

The vibe is great, everyone’s super friendly and it’s a completely different experience to what you’re used to. Foodies rejoice, this is the future of dining… 

The Luto supper club happens one Sunday a month at Brunswick East cafe in Dalston. You’d be a FOOL to miss it.

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